Bullying

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Teen Girls Tricky Issues Slideshow Pictures

Parents, Teenagers & Bullying

How can parents help their teen deal with bullying?

Bullying is one of the biggest challenges that teens are facing. Unfortunately, many teens are forced to deal with bullying while their parents and teachers are unaware on the specific nature and severity of the problem in their school.

Quick GuideTeen Girls Pictures Slideshow: Mean Girls, Cyberbullying, Dating, Periods & More

Teen Girls Pictures Slideshow: Mean Girls, Cyberbullying, Dating, Periods & More

Bullying facts

  • Bullying is defined as physical or verbal aggression that is repeated over a period of time and involves an imbalance of power.
  • Twenty eight percent of students from grades six through 12 have either been the victim of bullying.
  • Teachers often underestimate how much bullying is occurring at their schools.
  • Parents tend to be aware their child is being bullied only about half the time.
  • There are thought to be four types of bullying: physical, verbal, relational, and reactive.
  • Bullies have been found to have rather high self-esteem and to be social climbers.
  • Bystanders of bullying tend to succumb to what they believe is peer pressure to support bullying behavior and fear of becoming the victim.
  • Bullying can have significantly negative outcomes, for both the bully and the victim.
  • There are a number of approaches that victims and bystanders of bullying, as well as parents, school, and work personnel can use to discourage bullying at school or in the workplace.

What is bullying?

While state laws have little consistency in their definition of bullying, the accepted definition by many mental-health professionals is physical or verbal aggression that is repeated over a period of time and involves an imbalance of power. It is further characterized by the bully repeatedly using the higher social status they have over the victim to exert power and to hurt the victim. When the harassment, name calling, gossiping, or rumor spreading extends from being done in person or by phone to the use of emails, chat rooms, blogs, or other social media, it is referred to as cyber bullying.

Bullying is usually thought of as taking place between children at school. However, it can also occur at work and include behaviors like verbal abuse, sabotaging the victim' s job or work relationship, or misusing authority. Adult bullies who engage in these behaviors are males 60% of the time. While men who bully tend to direct their hostility toward both genders equally, women bullies target other women about 80% of the time.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/5/2015

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